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Pic of the Week

Our latest Pic of the Week is actor Jackson Rathbone. Not only does this fellow, who turns 29 today, have an awesome name, he is related to none other than the late, great British actor Basil Rathbone. Enjoy!


Thicker Than

My uncle Buster died on December 6th.
While mom tried to jog my memory about meeting him at least once, I have no memory of the man. Marion "Buster" Snyder was someone I just heard her talk about sometimes. It's the same for her dad's side of the family. I remember meeting them once, after grandfather Dean Snyder had passed away, but the memory -- now some 20+ year ago -- is a foggy one.
When mom and I went to Buster's visitation on the cold night of December 11th, driving from Champaign to her hometown of Clinton, we weren't quite sure what to expect. After mom was born, Dean and my grandmother (Gummy) broke up and Dean started over with a new family with the lovely Hazel, comprised of several children who are my mother's half-siblings, Buster among them. Mom hadn't been extremely close with the family, so we approached the visitation with some trepidation.

30 Days of Thanks: Zena

We had to put our beagle to sleep today. At first, this was going to be an "in memorial" post, but then I realized that we're in the midst of 30 Days of Thanks, and how grateful I am that Zena was a part of our lives. So, as much as is possible, I'm going to take a few moments to appreciate the beautiful little beagle that was ours for the past two-and-a-half years.
Thirty Days of Thanks, Day 8: Zena
We brought her home on April 4, 2011. I remember the date clearly because it was the day before the local municipal elections, when we got a new mayor for the city of Champaign, and things were looking up. There's a picture somewhere of Ashley and Zena on the couch together, Ashley looking at the incoming election results on his laptop, Zena simply looking-on, probably trying to gauge who this new owner of hers was.
She was 11, almost 12 when we got her. I wanted a dog and, eventually (thankfully), got Ashley to agree. We went to the humane society and looked at a fe…

Missing You

"We Miss You."
Just those three little words from, of all places, the History Channel, really got to me. Apparently, long ago, I'd signed-up with them online, or purchased something from them, or who knows what? At any rate, it's been eons since I last visited their page (of that, I am sure), and so they sent an e-mail to me yesterday with those three words being the first part of the subject line.
I'm a people person. It's a cliche, however, very true in my case. I tend to do better when in the company of good people whose presence I enjoy. Rightly or wrongly, my days can be made better or worse by those whom I converse with, what we discuss, how they react to me, and the vibe they're putting off. Whether it be a close friend distant friend, relative or loved one, I appreciate it when I hear from you, or, better yet, get to spend time with you.

30 Days of Thanks: Illinois

My 5th day of gratitude was a derailed slightly by the delightful news out of our state capitol that marriage equality is finally going to become a reality. Thus, today, I give thanks for my birth state, the place I call home -- Illinois.
30 Days of Thanks, Day 5: Illinois
The Land of Lincoln has been my home for (gosh) nearly four decades. It was where I was born. It may be where I die. It's what I know. The midwestern sensibilities, the changing of the seasons, the hot summers and harsh winters, the good people of all ages and political stripes and, last but not least, it's great location. We're situated either on the western fringe of the eastern U.S., or the eastern fringe of the midwest, take your pick. From where I live, it's a fairly quick drive to three major cities. Can't beat it.

30 Days of Thanks: Tom

Today, on Day 4,  I am thankful for Tom Daley, because of course I am.


30 Days of Thanks: Education

The gratitude continues as we enter our third day of being thankful for people and things in the life of ol' Matty-Matt.
30 Days of Thanks, Day 3: Education
I was born and raised in Champaign, IL, attending Unit 4 schools for my K-12 education. This consisted of three schools altogether: Westview, Jefferson and Centennial. To be honest, it wasn't always the best of times. Kids can be cruel. But the teachers, deans and administrators were almost always wonderful. I feel fortunate to have experienced those years with them.

30 Days of Thanks: Health

Everything I have to be thankful for flows from life, that much is true. And life -- at least this personal, conscious life that I have -- is finite. Once dead, my body will break down and its atoms will once more be free to do other things, mingling with the universe to be a part of another life. Until that time comes, I can thank my health for keeping this life going. Therefore, it's only logical to follow gratitude of life with that of health.
So, here we go!

30 Days of Thanks: Life

A lot of folks I know did this last year, but I was coming off a binge of horror movie-related posts from October, and so declined to partake. This year, however, I am fully embracing the 30 Days of Thanks meme, in which I choose to public express gratitude for one thing each day of the month of November. Today being November 1st, the thankfulness, obviously, begins now.
A quick word of personal background: As some of you may know, I deal with depression on a regular basis, taking a generic for Prozac every day. Sometimes it helps, other times... not so much. I am moody and, as a consequence, a bit up and down in how I think, feel and come across. Thankfully (no pun intended) I have a super support group of friends and loved ones who are willing to put up with this and, bless 'em, try and help if they can.
This month's exercise in gratitude is an active step to try and maintain a positive attitude as much as possible. With that, let's begin.

Munchkin

It was with a tinge of sadness that I watched Richard Belzer's final scene as John Munch last night on Law & Order: SVU. "Munchkin" (as he was more affectionately known on his original series Homicide: Life on the Street) had reached mandatory retirement age, and was saying goodbye to the police force. Munch's colleagues threw a party/roast for him, and then at the very end of the episode he packed-up his desk and quietly walked away.
Belzer's departure from SVU (which, to be honest, I only began watching in 1999 because the Munch character had transferred from Baltimore to New York) affects me because of his ties to Homicide and, in extension, my life at that time. The older I get, the more memories I have, and the more they tend to shape and mold my life. When a through-line of that life, even a minor part of it, ceases, then it can cause a moment to reflect.
Odd as it may sound, Det. John Munch is such a through-line.

Walking Aimlessly

Last night saw the season 4 premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead. By now, almost everyone knows what the show is about, but in case you don't, it's about people trying to survive during a zombie apocalypse. The series has seen some stellar viewership since it began in October 2010, and I admit to being a regular viewer, despite my better judgment.
What I refer to is how The Walking Dead never leaves me feeling... good. That may sound like an odd qualifier for a television program. After all, I was a stalwart supporter of NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street, and it rarely left me feeling happy about the world. But at least Homicide was a quality program that actually delved into character development, rather than simply pay lip service to it.
Walking Dead is a very gory show, sometimes (in my opinion) just for the sake of it. Zombies are shot, or stabbed through the head. People are bitten and/or disemboweled. Very little is left to the imagination. And the characters who …

The No. 1 Ladies of Television

Recently, on an internet forum that I frequent which dabbles in cult film and television discussions, the question arose of who we thought were the 10 best television characters of all-time. It helped to see others' choices, as it reminded me of certain no-brainers I was ashamed to have forgotten upon first thought (Emma Peel, Columbo, etc.), but what really niggled at me was the paucity of females on our lists.
At first, when reading the selections of others, the lack of female characters stood out like big neon lettering, and I shook my head in dismay at what I assumed to be unintentional sexism. Then, it came time to add my Top 10 and... I was stuck. Seriously, there would seem to be a dearth of solid women on television, especially in recent years.
Understand that this list isn't just meant to consist of characters that you like, or think of as pretty cool peeps. No, these are the 10 Best TV Characters of All-Time. They are meant to be near-iconic, or at least exceptional…

Pic of the Week

A random redhead. Enjoy!




Whistle Down the Wind

Last night was pretty rough, emotionally. It was the culmination of a week's worth of feeling down. Events were triggered by - of all things - a movie, continued to snowball because of interactions with friends, and then came to a head after once more confronting internal conflicts regarding my late father. I ended up arriving at my mother's house unannounced, and crying for a bit (something I haven't done in probably two decades, at least).
It is clear that the root of many of my issues is a series of letdowns, from various people. Sometimes, the blame for this can be laid squarely on the shoulders of others. Often, however, I need to look inward. That is to say, I need to re-evaluate my expectations.

The Killing Fields

The subject of the war in Syria leaves me feeling fairly awful. No doubt, dear reader, your reaction is much the same. The reasons for this are myriad, from seeing the U.S. engage in yet another conflict -- seeing our troops deployed and stretched even further -- to the cynical cry of why it is almost always the Middle East countries that draw our indignation and justifications for war, when civilian slaughter and genocide occurs all over the world (unfortunately). It's just a bad situation all round.
One of the battle cries we've heard regarding Syria is how its government has (allegedly, but very likely) used chemical weapons against its people. This, of course, is horrendous. It is evil (an over-used word, but one that is appropriate in this context). The emotional, even rational, portion of myself would like to rain down a fury of righteously indignant hurt upon Bashar al-Assad and his cronies. But then, I stop and remember what the reality of military intervention almost…

Classic Radio Better Than Classic Cinema?

It's Alfred Hitchcock day on TCM, a special Sundays With Hitch programming feature during September. One of the films airing today is the classic Spellbound, starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. Alas, it's not a very enjoyable experience. Allow me to explain why that is.
As mentioned before on this blog, I grew up listening to the radio at bedtime. At first it consisted of Larry King (back when he did overnights), and then switched to old-time radio shows from the '30s, '40s and '50s. I would purchase the programs on cassette, and drift to sleep with the sounds of Arch Oboler, Suspense!, The Shadow and others in my ears.
One of the shows I listened to most was Screen Directors Playhouse. It aired on NBC Radio from 1949-51, and consisted of dramatizations of popular movies. Indeed, this is where I was introduced to such cinema classics as Call Northside 777, The Killers, The Spiral Staircase, Lifeboat, Shadow of a Doubt, The Uninvited and, finally, Spellbound

Pic of the Week

We're back with a new Pic of the Week! This time our featured person is UK diver Chris Mears. Enjoy!


The Walking Dead

I certainly didn't expect to see Roger Ebert up and about at his own funeral.
Of course, this was only in a dream. It occurred last night, most likely triggered by having watched an Ebert retrospective on local PBS station WILL-TV. A series of local interviews with the late film critic, interspersed with pledge breaks, left me feeling bittersweet. It was nice to see and hear Ebert in his prime, holding court about film, but then it made me miss him even more.
Then there was the dream.
Things began rather suddenly -- as they so often do in dreams -- at the approach to Ebert's funeral. Ashley & I were walking, side-by-side, on a concrete road leading up to a rather nondescript beige building sitting at the edge of a town. Throngs of people were gathered in front of the building, however, much to my surprise, they were not solemn and silent, but whooping and hollering with glee. As we got closer, it became evident they were focused on one person in-particular.

Dystopian Dysfunction

South African director Neill Blomkamp has released yet another allegorical science fiction tale. An obviously skilled and talented filmmaker, Blomkamp's first movie, District 9, told the tale of weakened aliens arriving on Earth and being interned in camps by their human captors. This was a nod toward apartheid and, for the most part, was successfully crafted as entertainment. Now we have Elysium, a futuristic screed against hard-line views on immigration. Unfortunately, it does not work as well as District 9.
The year is 2154 and, as most sci-fi movie futures must be, it is a dystopian setting. Humans have ravaged the Earth, and live not much better than animals. Matt Damon plays Max, an orphan (of course), raised by Hispanic nuns and told that he is destined for greatness. Just in case you're unable to grasp this, the point is telegraphed in every other scene. Alice Braga is capable as Frey, a childhood friend of Max whom he also adores. Jodie Foster is pretty good as cold-…

Pic of the Week

Our newest Pic of the Week is British actor William Moseley, probably most famous for his role in Chronicles of Narnia. Enjoy!




The Forgiveness of Blood

Celebrity chef Paula Deen has had a rough month. Falling from grace due to accusations (and admissions) of using racial slurs and some poor judgement in what she's asked her African-American staff to do, the 'aw shucks' southern cook continues to feel the heat. No word on whether or not she's gotten out of the kitchen.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is now running for mayor of New York City, despite having resigned his seat from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011 after his sexual proclivities with women (while married) were made public. Now, in the midst of his mayoral campaign, he's been caught again, or should I say his sexual alter-ego Carlos Danger has.
Racist chefs, sexually dangerous politicians, media scrutiny, public dismay -- these aren't good things, obviously. Both of the aforementioned people have faced harsh judgement from many, including myself. I don't much care for what both Paula Deen and Anthony Weiner have admitted to doing. De…

On Why I Think Raleigh Becket Is Gay

I quite enjoyed the summer action movie Pacific Rim. Set in the not-too-distant future, its premise is that a rift has opened up deep in the Pacific Ocean, a rift to another world. Gigantic monsters from this world come through the rift to attack and destroy our coastal cities. Humanity has in-turn banded together and created Transformer-sized robots, known as Jaegers, utilizing two human co-pilots as the brains. What ensues is a bushel load of monsters vs. robots battles. It's great fun.
Pacific Rim's box office has been respectable, but not stupendous. Mostly, it seems to be garnering accolades from folks for showcasing a multi-racial set of actors in prominent roles, all the while not making a big on-screen fuss of, 'Oh, look! We have a multi-racial cast!' Consider me amongst the praisers. It was refreshing to have British actor Idris Elba as the main commander, Pentecost, and Asian actress Rinko Kikuchi as the lead heroine, Mako. The latter character, and her relat…

Nighty Night

Last night on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) I was watching some reruns of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The cable channel, known mostly for showcasing older and classic cinema, has been running Carson repeats every Monday evening in July. To call these interviews with great actors and actresses a 'treasure trove' would do them an injustice. I've enjoyed watching them immensely. Last night's broadcast was no exception.

Pic of the Week

It's been awhile since we've had Pic of the Week. Our latest is Days of Our Lives actor Chandler Massey. Enjoy!


Let Ebert Die

Beloved film critic Roger Ebert died three months ago, after several years of dealing with cancer and its consequences. I never knew him, yet miss him. I enjoyed reading his thoughts, whether they were via his movie reviews, blog posts, or tweets. He was, as we all are, unique. I miss the man. I miss his opinions. There is still an emptiness where he once existed, a void. None of this is particularly irregular after someone dies. And yet...
Ebert's legacy is proving to be an unusual and, dare I say it, awkward one. His Twitter account has been left active. His wife, Chaz, and others (honestly, I'm not really sure who all has access to it) continue to tweet under the banner that had once belonged to an individual. It was a personal account, a window into the heart and mind of a wonderful man. Judging from some of the responses to recent tweets, I'm not the only one made uncomfortable by the account's continuation.

Frances Who?

Half of 2013 is now gone. As a moviegoer and film lover, what first springs to mind when such a milestone passes is: What are the best movies I've seen so far this year? I've watched 16 movies that can be counted as 2013 films and, based upon those offerings, it's been a solid, if unremarkable year in cinema thus far. Here, then, is my favorite movie 2013, as of mid-year.

The Bisexual Who Wasn't There

A bit of a firestorm has erupted over on Andrew Sullivan's The Dish blog in regards to who or what constitutes being bisexual, with some readers going as far as to postulate that bisexuals don't even exist. It's a fascinating exchange of input and ideas, and well worth a read if you have the time. I confess to having always been a tad curious (bi-curious?) about the parameters of bisexuality, and readily admit to not having formed a clear notion of it yet.

The Age of Not Believing

In a few years, I'll be 40.
The preceding sentence was typed with no excitement. Perhaps some slight gratitude of living into another decade. But certainly no anticipation of the age. I was thinking about this t'other day, and how much the sensation of growing older now differs from how it used to feel then. As a kid, getting older was a crusade. It started with an idolization of the teenage years, and reached its zenith in pining to become a full-fledged, college-aged adult, doing all the things I saw teens and early-twenty-somethings doing in 1980s' movies.
Of course, those years came soon enough, and then ended almost just as quickly as they'd begun (or at least that's how it seems in hindsight). Overall, being a teenager and college-aged person were all right. Not ideal, but then how many of us get to enjoy the idealized version of life? I went to classes, got to drive a car, had sex for the first time, went to nightclubs, had my first beer, etc. etc. It wasn&…

Pic of the Week

This week we have something a little different -- a woman!
That's right. Just so it can't be said this an exclusive club, we'll include a beautiful dame from time to time. This week, it's British actress Sonya Walger, who celebrates her 39th birthday today! Enjoy.


The Adventures of Matt Sawyer

Did I tell you about the time I was scared for my life by a couple of (probably) drunk guys who took my treasure chest?
It was the summer of 1989, the first summer of my teenage years, and the first full summer I'd spent living in north Champaign. Mom and dad had divorced in the autumn of 1988, and mom and I had moved from the central/west part of town, to the north end, in order to save money. It was disrupting to a then-12-year-old, who'd spent his entire life in just one part of town. When you're young, and have less mobility, your world is particularly small. What is a short drive nowadays was like the other side of the world back then.
Thankfully, a couple of friends from the old neighborhood made the bike ride over to where I lived (and vice-versa), so the separation from familiar surroundings was filled with a little less anxiety. So, with the summer of '89 in full-swing, plenty of time on our hands to think of things to do, I decided to create a treasure hunt …

The Gay Predator

Google "Liberace predator." Go on, do a Google search for it, and you'll see at least eight hits on the first page alone that reference the famous, late musician as being a sexual predator. Well, one of the eight references states that he was not a predator, but that's the exception. Of course, if you come to this post some time after it's been written, the search results may be different. The reason there's so much chatter online about the flamboyant piano player who died 26 years ago is a new, high-profile movie recently aired.
Behind the Candelabra premiered on HBO two nights ago. It has a nice Hollywood pedigree, yet eventually took form as a TV movie (albeit a graphic one) because it was deemed to be too gay for a mainstream Hollywood theatrical release. And, yes, it is most certainly gay. Heterosexual actors Michael Douglas and Matt Damon do a brilliant job at playing the homosexual and bisexual characters of Liberace and his lover Scott Thorson, respec…

Star Trek Into Doctor Who

This past weekend I watched both the new Star Trek movie, and the Season 7 finale of the new Doctor Who program. I enjoyed both, but had some issues with them that won't seem to go away. Therefore, I'm going to ponder said issues here on the blog. Obviously, if you haven't seen either production yet, and plan to do so, now would probably be a good time to stop reading.

Pic of the Week

British actor Christian Cooke, whom I've seen in a 2008 Doctor Who story, is our lovely pic o' the week. Enjoy!


Sammy Davis Jr. and the End of the World

"I've found it." "What?" "Eternity. It's the sun mingled with the sea."
-- Total Eclipse (1995)

The candlelight flickers on the table between us. We share a conversation over drinks. Casual and elegant in its contrasting deepness and simplicity. The words flow, often more freely than the alcohol. This is as it should be. The two compliment one another, but the people and the notions should always be center stage. Drinking is merely set design.
There is an intimacy to these occasions. Not necessarily of the romantic variety, but it is there. It would be difficult to arrange oneself in the environment -- nighttime, dimmed lights, inhibition-dropping beverages and people who engage you -- and not feel some level of intimacy. Our time is precious, and we should spend it wisely.

High Table

I'm not a fan of former US Education Secretary William Bennett. Aside from disagreeing with his politics (which isn't a cardinal sin), I've found him to be hypocritcal when it comes to the morals he's espoused and the morals he's lived by, and his infamous remarks about abortion and Social Security were bizarre at best. Having said all that, I do think he's spot-on when it comes to the issue of higher education and, more specifically, student loan debt.
From a recent news article: “We have about 21 million people in higher education, and about half the people who start four year colleges don’t finish,” Bennett tells The Daily Ticker. “Those who do finish, who graduated in 2011 - half were either unemployed or radically underemployed and in debt.” The problem, Bennett says, is people going to second-tier schools, majoring in less-marketable liberal arts fields, and taking on debt to do so. I couldn't agree more, which is something I never expected to say af…

What's Cooking?

Do you like to cook? I'm not talking about, "Yeah, I make meals for myself in the microwave." No. I mean, do you slave over a hot stove, or put some stuff together and throw it in the oven? This doesn't have to be Paul Prudhomme or Emeril Lagasse level concoctions. But it can't be too simple, either. So then, do you like to cook?
Me, I oscillate. The first time a particular recipe is attempted comes with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Are all the ingredients accounted for? Will I put them together correctly? Is the recipe truly on top of how long it takes to make and bake? What if I mess it up? What if I make it as directed, but it turns out just 'meh?' Of course, if the finished dish is a good one, then I stress the second time I make it because I'm worried it won't turn out as well as the first occasion.

Uncivil Discourse

Some minor history was made a few days ago when an active NBA player came out of the closet. 34-year-old Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards admitted he was gay to the media, and the response thus far has been mostly positive. Presidents, both current and former, along with celebs and other notables have publicly given their support to Collins after his announcement.
Some have questioned why it should even be news that an NBA player is gay. Of course, it's news because of the context of the world we live in, wherein many who are gay or lesbian still feel uncomfortable with being open about who they are, and with gay marriage still being a hot button issue in many states and countries. It's news because we don't live in a perfect world, in which a person's sexuality shouldn't really matter.

The Foodies

All right, y'all. It's a new month, the sun is shining, birds be chirping, summer feels as though it's on its way. I'm in a good mood. And often I equate good moods with food (it's a sick, sick cycle, dear reader). Therefore, let's take a look at some of Matty-Matt's favorite food locales around town.
Yup, that's right. It's what I'm hoping will become an annual edition of: Matt's Favorite C-U Foods! Ready? Here we go...

That Was the Month That Was

Well, readers, it's been an interesting 30 days. They say that April can be the cruelest month. While this April wasn't necessarily cruel, it was definitely full of a varied amount occurrences, some good, some bad. I thought it fitting to review the month, properly say goodbye to it, and look ahead to May with some optimism.

The Great Beyond

David Allred has written a "faith column" for Oak Ridge Today, in which he takes umbrage with the late Roger Ebert's musings on death. In particular, Allred would seem to dislike the term "nothing" being ascribed to the state of what happens to us after we die. Allred appears to believe in an afterlife and, it seems, a god. Following is a passage from Ebert's essay-in-question: I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. Adding to Allred's distress over Ebert's beliefs (or lack thereof) is the mass sharing of the late film critic's essay that has occurred since his passing earlier this month. From Allred: I am not surpris…

Pic of the Week

Time for another luscious Pic o' the Week! Here we have British diver Chris Mears (friend of Tom Daley), doing a photo shoot for the Gay Times 'naked' issue from earlier this year. Alas, he's not gay, just a supporter. Still, enjoy!

He's My Plus One

The week my father died I began working at a bar on campus. Cochrane's. I was one of the DJs. Sayon was another one. He and I would alternate Friday & Saturday nights every weekend. It was a fun time, believe it or not. I did a lot of bar hopping during those days, at Cochrane's, other campus bars and, of course, Chester Street. There were several bar outings in those days that consisted of failed attempts to be noticed by some straight guy or other. What was I thinking? Oh well.
My friend, Bryan, had gotten me the job at Cochrane's. He'd just become the manager there, and was nice, and believed in my DJing abilities. Sometimes during the day when the bar was technically closed, but Bryan was there working on stuff, I'd stop by and visit. There was a cafe a couple doors down from the bar, and I remember stopping in there one day. The two owners were a husband and wife, very kind people. They had a nephew visiting -- an extended visit -- named Mike.

On the Eve of Ebertfest

Upon entering the resplendently restored Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, IL this past Saturday, my first thought was, 'If only Roger Ebert had lived to see this.' The rest of the visit there that afternoon was bittersweet. My partner and I, longtime Ebertfest-goers, walked around and took-in the Virginia in all her rediscovered glory. The murals, the stencils, the new licks of paint, the repaired masonry, it was all so beautiful. The new chairs? Eh, well, nothing is perfect.
And now, a few days later, we are about to begin Roger Ebert's 15th Annual Ebertfest, but without Roger Ebert. The film critic died earlier this month, and this will mark the first time the festival has taken place with its namesake dead (he did not attend one year due to health issues, but was active on his blog during the course of the festival). It is unclear how the festival will unfold this time around. Probably as normal, with a few misty-eyes and remembrances thrown in for good measure.

The Once and Future Campus Town

I grew up and live in Champaign-Urbana, IL, a nifty little college town. Having been here for (ahem) some time, I've watched the community grow and prosper. Most of the changes have been for the best, although change is often defined subjectively. One of the areas about to undergo a somewhat major overhaul is the campus town district. Many college communities have a campus town, an area close to the university full of shops and cafes, where students and townies alike can meet up for food, friends and fun. The changes coming to our own said area include several new high-rise (for C-U) buildings, parking garages, retail spots and hotels.
An employee at the university here, driving in to work this morning I became wistful while gazing upon the campus town landscape and skyline, all the while thinking of the aforementioned changes, and how things used to be. In truth, campus town here in C-U used to be more, well, grungy. And I mean that in the most affectionate way possible. Perhaps…

Pic of the Week

Hello again! Our latest Pic o' the Week is none other than actor (and star of the Microsoft Surface Pro commercial) Daniel Cloud Campos. Enjoy the dishiness!

They Say It's Your Birthday

It's true that I've devoted a lot of time on this blog to friends, family and neighbors who are no longer with us. That's probably not too uncommon, as it's a fallibility of human nature that we don't tend to overly-gush about the living. We wait until they're dead, then eulogize them. That's all well and good for those who are still around, but kinda sucks if you've already snuffed it.
Pondering over the aforementioned thoughts made me realize that it's better late than never to show an appreciation for those who've made a difference in my life, both in the past and in the present. In fact, today falling smack dab as it does between two stellar people's birthdays (Terry's yesterday, Amanda's tomorrow) has prompted me to undertake a little written appreciation of them. Two folks whom I'm fortunate enough to count as friends.

Riding Without Training Wheels

We had a beautiful Sunday here in Champaign-Urbana. Only two weeks ago today there was a foot of snow falling, and now we have 70 degree temps and plenty of sunshine. It was a nice day to do some walking, and so I walked, purposefully. Part of my job as an elected precinct committee person is to get information to voters. I did so this afternoon by dropping-off some campaign literature for various candidates. Hopefully there wasn't much bother to folks, simply putting the lit in their doors, and moving on.
As I meandered up Daniel St., a father and son could be seen on the sidewalk. The son was on a bicycle with training wheels, the father sometimes beside him, sometimes behind him. This was at the portion of Daniel St. that comes to an end right at the front of Westview, my old elementary school. In fact, it is the same school where I learned to ride a bike without training wheels. It's a coincidental reminder of living in the town you grew up in, seeing a father and son and…

Elusive

Nothing is infinite. Well, probably nothing. We can't be certain, but we know that many things are finite: our lives, certainly. Even the Earth, the sun, other stars and planets have expiration dates, although it's difficult to fathom such a notion, as their lifespans are so very much greater than our own. What seems to define all of this is time. True, there is also space, but space is pretty much a given. Things -- though they come and go -- exist within a spacial plane. But what defines them (and us) is time.
Indeed, it would seem that time is the ultimate prison, the ultimate foe and, therefore, the ultimate frustration. We could, theoretically, travel to other worlds. And perhaps someday we as a species will do so. But for us, here and now, the likelihood is slim-to-none. Anyone who is reading this bit of writing when it is published will not survive long enough to have such an opportunity. Time will have taken its toll on us.

Requiem In Silver and Screen

There I was, at the President's House of the University of Illinois, enjoying a work-related function. Odd though it may sound, it was a familiar environment. I'd been there before, several times, for the opening night gala for Ebertfest, Roger Ebert's annual film festival held in his hometown of Urbana-Champaign. Then I got a text from my partner that read "Ebert has died."
The surroundings remained familiar, but surreal. A few moments prior I'd been thinking how, in just a couple of weeks, I'd be back at the house again celebrating a new edition of Roger Ebert's Film Festival. It would be fun! Yes, Ebert had recently announced that his cancer had returned, but he'd sounded very future-forward in his outlook, and I sort of hoped that perhaps he'd be able to attend his wonderful, glorious event.
And now he's gone.

Moral Ambiguity and The Walking Dead

Last night saw the 3rd season finale of AMC's The Walking Dead zombie apocalypse series. Although its ratings will no doubt be massive, the episode appears to be garnering some dissent among fandom (at least if you read the online reviews, comments and message boards). Personally, it seemed lacking as a season-ender, even if it had its moments. I'm about to delve into a morality issue regarding certain aspects of the episode so, if you haven't watched it, turn back now.
Ok, here we go...